Ukip row: Nigel Farage is a 'total charmer', claims Tory Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt

The Health Secretary joked he would likely lose his job after he decided to stick up for the Ukip leader on BBC's Question Time

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Indy Politics

Nigel Farage is a “total charmer” and should not have been derided as a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man by a leading Ukip politician, according to a Conservative Cabinet Minister.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, joked on BBC’s Question Time that he would likely lose his job in Government after he decided to stick up for the Ukip leader.

The panel were asked whether there was room for snarling and aggressive leaders in politics.

Mr Hunt said he had seen a more pleasant side of the Ukip leader, whose party has been eating into support for the Conservatives.

“He’s always been a total charmer when I’ve seen him. I didn’t expected I’d ever come here and stick up for Nigel Farage – there’s my Cabinet job gone,” Mr Hunt said.

He added that personal attacks - like Ukip election campaign manager Patrick O’Flynn’s explosive comments about Mr Farage - “normally reflect far worse on the person who made the attack” than the target.

Another panellist, Brian May, the Queen guitarist and activist, also expressed surprise that he found himself sticking up for Mr Farage.

But he said: “What I don’t like is this kind of insults approach in politics. I think that’s what we need to get rid of.

“Let’s look at the positive side. This kind of negative campaigning is really damaging politics.”

Tristram Hunt, who is expected to run for Labour leader, suggested aggression was not a quality that Ed Miliband’s successor should possess.

“Historically there are leaders with all sorts of attributes, clearly there’s space for snarling leaders in modern politics,” he said, “just not in the Labour party.”